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FAQ

1. How many rape cases have been recorded in India, how many have been convicted of the crime?

The number of registered rapes have increased by 7 times since 1973 (1972 was the first year in which NCRB started recording rape cases) . Also these numbers are only of FIRs filed, many victim prefer to file their case as a non cognizable offense. This does not necessarily mean rape has started becoming more rampant, it could also be because more women are coming forward to register complaints. However, the decline in conviction rates is alarming: only about 26.54%  of the alleged perpetrators are convicted in 2010 compared to 44.28% in 1973.

 As of 2010,89,707 persons are pending trial!

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2.When I compare rape statistics across nations, India seems much safer than most ‘developed’ countries. Why, then, are we creating a fuss about women’s safety?

Most people refer to wikipedia statistics on rapes across counties and claim India is better in comparison. But here is what they missed :
1. Better policing in those countries ensures better reporting. In India, however  owing to the social stigma and the lack of compassionate treatment of the victim by her family, the police and the society, most of these victims prefer to live with the abuse than speak about it.

Please refer to Mathura Rape Case, where a 16 year old girl was raped by two policemen on the compound of a police station in Maharashtra, and
Dr.Sunitha Krishnan’s case where her parents were mocked by her relatives for giving her too much freedom.

2. The definition of rapes is different in different countries. In Scandinavian countries, every penetration is counted as a different rape, whereas in India even a gang rape is registered as a single case.  Again, Marital Rape (Rape by one’s spouse) is prosecutable in 104 countries, however in India it is not. Obviously a broader definition of rape is going to have a greater number of cases recorded. Also Stranger rape is only about 10% in UK, mostly rape is committed by a person who the victim knows. Whereas in India, stranger rape is predominant (and stranger rapes are the ones mostly reported)
3. A study by Reuters has put India as the fourth most dangerous country for women, only Afghanistan, Congo and Pakistan are ahead of us. http://www.trust.org/trustlaw/womens-rights/dangerpoll/

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3. Why not make Prostitution legal, wouldn’t that would help bring down rapes?

There is no conclusive data to prove that. But here’s our take on that:
1. Sex workers aren’t there by choice either. Many girls are trafficked and pushed into prostitution.The ugly reality is that women are treated like commodities in this industry. Unlike some of the developed countries, a prostitute is not given the respect and dignity for offering sexual services by her choice. So not many women willingly go into the profession. This makes the pimps traffic young girls and coerce them into prostitution.As per the CBI (2009), around 1.2 million children are believed to be into prostitution in India, and children form an estimated 30-40% of the total sex workers.  A CEDPA report states that in 1997, approximately 200 girls and women in India entered prostitution on a daily basis and 80 per cent were coerced into it.

2. Arguing that  prostitution is the only way to solve the issue of crimes against women is derogatory to men themselves. It assumes that men are meant to behave like carnal beasts, utterly incapable of any degree of self control that is expected in a civilized society. It is also an insult to the majority of men who are able to to lead a normal life without having the need for impulsive behaviour. Sunitha Krishnan has launched a campaign called “Men Against Demand” which aims at reducing demand.

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4. OK, I agree India is high on rapes. But what about these petty crimes like pinching, groping etc? I’m sure that happens in a lot of other countries too.

Sadly it doesn’t. In most other countries, women are able to walk alone, drive alone. travel at night, use public transport without once being touched. Whereas any Indian girl brought up in a city is not new to the barrage of advices, here is a brilliant write up by Devika Bakshi: (http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/nation/a-woman-in-the-city)

We abide by a hallowed yet vague code of conduct:

don’t stay out after dark,

don’t wear anything that shows off your legs,

don’t trust strangers, especially men,

don’t stand out in a crowd.

We negotiate our own curfews: no autorickshaws after 8, no metro after 10, no driving alone after 11.

We permit ourselves small conditional freedoms: if you must go out, go in a group with boys,

go to someone’s house, go only to this or that safe neighbourhood, take a driver.

One or another of our well-wishers arms us with a laundry-list of good faith measures: wear a dupatta, take my Swiss-army knife, here’s a bottle of pepper spray, why don’t you buy a padlock, a metal torch, a sharp umbrella—just carry it, please, for my peace of mind.

Pin-up your bangs.

Wear leggings under your skirt.

Don’t get into an auto with two men in the front seat.

Text me the cab’s licence plate number.

Call me when you leave the restaurant, and then again when you get into the car.

Have someone walk you from the restaurant to your car.

If you’re driving yourself to a movie at night, don’t go to one in a mall.

Why would you take an auto when I can pick you up? Why would you take a bus when we have a car for you?

Why would you drive when we have a driver? What if a bunch of cars corners you and forces you to stop?

Never get out of your car if someone hits it.

Don’t slow down for male cops.

Constant insecurity is what an average Indian girl feels on a daily basis as she moves around, and drawing from the experiences of many of these Indian girls who have later moved abroad, it is obvious that the problem is endemic and confined to the boundaries of the country.
Why do we have to abide by this ever growing checklist? When will we be free?

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5. If women are not careful about their dressing, don’t they invite trouble for themselves?

1. Research has totally disregarded this. Many studies on the psyche of the rapists have revealed that  rapists choose women based on their vulnerability not their physical appearance.They look for victims who submits to the rape and is more passive (less likely to complain or talk about it) Woman wearing provocative clothing are read as being more assertive and having more confidence. A woman with loose-fitting or baggy clothing is seen as being more passive and submissive. (This study de-links clothing from rape: http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1109&context=djglp)

2. The crime rate against women is not lower in those countries where they are forced to wear a Purdah. Nor is it high in the countries where they can walk around with swimsuits. There is no causal relation between dress and crimes against women.

3. Women are raped from the age of three months  to ninety three years. Rape is an act of violence not sex. In most instances the rapist premeditates his crime. Should babies also start wearing saris?

4. How do you define what is provocative? The women in Korea walk around with tiny skirts, which doesn’t get too much attention, however a sleeveless dress does attract some attention (By attention, I mean glances, and not abusive call outs or unwanted touches or rapes) . In the west, exposing cleavage attracts attention. In India, anything outside of a Saree (even a salwar without a dupatta) is considered provocative. The definition of provocation and attraction varies from culture to culture, and even varies from person to person. Not everybody agrees on who is attractive and who is provocative. So how can this judgmental area be cited as an excuse ? How do I know , despite being wrapped up in a blanket, that I am not provocative. The only logical step would then be to keep women in captivation. So that men never get to see them and hence are never tempted.

5.The difference between rape and sex is consent. Period.

6. This was found on STFU, a conservatives tumblr page , written by a man, and it is perfectly what we’d like to go ahead with:

We (men) are not fucking sharks!

We are not rabid animals living off of pure instinct

We are capable of rational thinking and understanding.

Just because someone is cooking food doesn’t mean you’re entitled to eat it.

Just because a banker is counting money doesn’t mean you’re being given free money.

Just because a person is naked doesn’t mean you’re entitled to fuck them.

You are not entitled to someone else’s body just because it’s exposed.

What is so fucking difficult about this concept?

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6. Our culture was very pure and respectful of women, however its the western influence that resulted in such degradation, hasn’t it?

It was our culture that ensured women were killed in their husband’s pyre. It was our culture that dictated that the ones who didn’t jump into the fire were tonsured and kept aside. It was our culture that saw the rampant prostitution associated with the Devadasi system.It was our culture that saw women as liabilities and men as assets, and hence resulted in this female foeticide and a skewed sex ratio.
Here is documented proof  on the status of women as mandated by our culture, excerpts from Manusmriti. (http://nirmukta.com/2011/08/27/the-status-of-women-as-depicted-by-manu-in-the-manusmriti/)
Our culture accepts wife beating, and proudly claims we have low number of divorces. Low number of divorces isn’t necessarily a good thing when women are enduring suffering (This does not mean the opposite is true, that is a high number of divorce rates is healthy, we are not endorsing that view)

Of course the above instances are not wholly to say that the culture has always been misogynistic. There could be a chance that our culture was indeed glorious. But all that we are saying is, let’s leave our culture aside for a while, and give preference to human rights.
Lets stop harping on our past, and deal with the problems at hand currently. Instead of trying to blame ‘western culture’ or any other culture for that matter, let us try and see how to sort this issue.

As  a civilized society in today’s day and age, let us take stock of this problem and address it, instead of raising our hands to blame various factors that have intermingled with the history of our country.

 

 

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7. What is moral policing? Why is that wrong?

The best way to resolve issues is to understand others perspectives, and respect their opinion, and not always try and enforce our thoughts and belief systems upon them. However, sometimes things are stretched a little too far, when people go to the extent of using violence to enforce their beliefs upon others. It is a product of a very simplistic belief that everything ‘traditional’ is sanctimonious and all things western are evil. They masquerade as the guardians of India’s culture and tradition. They crack their whips hard on anyone messing around with India’s perceived morality.

They fail to realize that by using violence as a means to ensure the preservation of their culture, they are tarnishing it beyond repair.

Instead of following what is legal and taking effort to understand issues of pertinence , they start ‘punishing’ people who have taken a different moral stance. Common things these ‘moral policers’ have taken objection to include Valentines day, love marriages, couples meeting in public, sex education in schools. Of course, Indian festivals like Holi, which often end up in violent drunken frenzy, are part of our wonderful culture.
Many rapists cite their ‘rape’ as a means of teaching a lesson to the girl, who disrespected Indian culture by choosing to be seen in public with a guy.

Moral policing is a form of fanaticism that is highly dangerous as there is no sound reasoning to it but a common hatred of anything that is different from their agenda.

 

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8. What is the ‘Bystander effect’?

The bystander effect or Genovese syndrome is a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases where individuals do not offer any means of help in an emergency situation to the victim when other people are present. The probability of help has often appeared to be inversely related to the number of bystanders; in other words, the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help. The mere presence of other bystanders greatly decreases intervention. In general, this is believed to happen because as the number of bystanders increases, any given bystander is less likely to notice the situation, interpret the incident as a problem, and less likely to assume responsibility for taking action.

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9. What can I do to help?

1. Stop thinking that ‘boys will be boys’. Realize that as human beings we are capable of a great degree of restraint and self control. Besides, crimes against women are rarely motivated by ‘sexual desires’ , it is rather motivated by a desire for violence and domination. So stop cutting out the slack for men.

2.Stop questioning the girls dresses. Wearing a dress of their choice is not an invitation to rape. The next time you think someone is provocatively dressed, realize that it is your perception that is at fault, and not their dress.

3. If you are a parent:

  • Don’t just tell your daughter to stay safe. Instead teach your son not to touch anyone without their consent. Stop bringing up your sons by instilling a sense of pride in their ‘manliness’. Make the children realize that it is a mere biological difference and it doesn’t make anyone superior or inferior. Teach your sons to respect women. Teach them to be a good brother, a good friend and later, good husbands and fathers.
  • Talk to your children about good touch and bad touch , talk to them about bodily changes , and finally , as a parent talk to them about being responsible. There are plenty of resources in the internet that will help and guide you in this process.

4. Supporting the victim:

  • Stop blaming the victim! She was not ‘asking for it’.
  • Believe the victim.
  • Help her speak out. Listen to her.
  • Talk to her about it, and help her understand that it is not her fault.
  • Stop wondering ‘who will marry the victim’. Just realize there are many well qualified men out there who look for something more in a woman.
  • Stop telling them what they could have done differently, it is not often easy to react.
  • Encourage them to seek professional help if required.

5. Stop the bystander effect. The next time you see someone getting abused at public, be bold and speak up for them… just a few words, could go a long way.
Please do not worry about the perpetrator hurting you, mostly these are petty minded men who only indulge in it in the first place because they believe no one noticed or no one cares. And they are likely to run at the first call for attention.
If you see a group of people harassing a person, walk away from this group quickly and alert cops. Then gather people and approach the group and try to stall till the cops arrive.

6. Inspire people to stand up for others. Talk about it with your friends and family, discuss the issue of sexual violence as a national issue which needs serious thought. Teach them that looking the other way is not Cool. We have got to stand up for our basic human right to freedom and dignity.

7. Understand laws better. Here are your basic rights

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10. Common misconceptions about Child Abuse

1. Child sexual abuse is very rare, it doesn’t happen to everybody.
2. It happens only in ‘western countries’
3. In India, it happens only in the ‘slums’
4. It happens only in troubled families or broken families.
5. Child sexual abuse happens only to girls.
6. Child abusers are recognisable, as they are social misfits.
7. Strangers only abuse women/children.
(source:Parwarish)
Child abuse is so common, and it often goes unnoticed are children are worried to speak to their parents about it. Most often, these abusers are people who are close to the child: uncles, family friends and in some cases, the fathers too.

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11. Common misconceptions about crime against women

Its important to fight against these myths. Because of these myths, often the victim is blamed and perpetrator excused. We minimize the experience of the victim and discourage the victim from seeking help.

Myth: Women who dress sexy are more likely to be raped.
Fact: The way you dress has nothing to do with being raped. Rape is not about sexual
attraction it is about power and control. Women who dress in baggy clothes that cover
their bodies are just as likely to be raped. Rape is a crime of opportunity, NOT desire. Attractiveness has little significance. Reports show that there is a great diversity in the way targeted women act or dress. Rapists choose women based on their vulnerability not their physical appearance.

Myth: If the victim doesn’t fight back, it isn’t rape.
Fact: Most acquaintance rape victims do not have any physical signs of abuse.
Sometimes it isn’t safe for the victim to fight back. Only the victim knows what to do
during the assault and whatever she or he does to survive is the right thing. However,
most people who fight back get away with fewer injuries. Sadly our justice system did not recognise this in many cases.

Myth: The majority of rape victims are sexually promiscuous women.
Fact: 1 out of 5 women are victims of completed or attempted sexual abuse or sexual
assault. Everyone knows someone who is a survivor of sexual violence. The person you
least expect can be a survivor of sexual violence. Rape has nothing to do with sex. Rape
is violence using sex as a weapon.  

Myth Everyone knows when a woman says no, she often means yes. Women secretly want to be raped.
Fact Rape is a terrifying, violent and humiliating experience that no woman wants or asks for. If a sexual partner does not stop at the time a person says no, this is sexual assault. If a person is in a relationship with someone or has had sex with a person before, this does not mean that they cannot be assaulted by that person. Consent must be given every time two people engage in sexual contact. Sex without consent is rape.It might not be illegal in India when a husband rapes a wife, but it is only moral that consent is taken.

Myth Women eventually relax and enjoy it. They secretly want to be raped
Fact There is a widely held belief that women enjoy rape or that it is ‘just sex at the wrong time, in the wrong place’. Rape is a crime of sexual violence and humiliation which can involve being beaten, physical restraint, the use of knifes and sticks, urination and defecating. Studies have consistently shown that most rapes involve physical force to some degree. Often when a woman is raped she is afraid that she will be killed – rapists often use the threat of killing a woman or her children to ensure her ‘submission’ and her silence after the attack. Women do not enjoy sexual violence. Victims of murder, robbery and other crimes are never portrayed as enjoying the experience.

Myth Once a man is sexually aroused he cannot help himself. He has to have sex.
Fact Studies show that most rapes are premeditated i.e. they are either wholly or partially planned in advance. All rapes committed by more than one assailant are always planned. Men can quite easily control their urges to have sex – they do not need to rape a woman to satisfy them. Rape is an act of violence – not sexual gratification. Men who rape or sexually assault does so to dominate, violate and control.

Myth Men who rape are sexually frustrated / do not have the opportunity to have sex with a willing partner.
Fact Men who rape are as likely as any other man to be cohabiting or having a significant relationship with a woman. More than one in five women are raped by their partners or their husbands.

Myth The women was drunk / took drugs / had a bad reputation / was hitch hiking / wore tight clothes / seduced him / probably got what she was asking for.
Fact If a person is unconscious or their judgement is impaired by alcohol or drugs, legally they are unable to give consent. Having non-consensual sex with a person who is intoxicated is sexual assault.
Rapists use a variety of excuses to attempt to discredit the women they rape and to justify their crime. No woman asks or deserves to be rape or sexually assaulted. Often a rape case is defined more by the woman’s character than by what has happened to her. Newspapers and mass media often refer to women in the roles that they have within society – ‘young mother’, ‘grandmother’, ‘doctor’s wife’ etc. If the woman’s role or social position is not seen as socially acceptable, she is often held responsible not the rapist.The rules imposed on women’s behaviour allow rapists to shift the responsibility for rape onto women wherever possible, so that most of the perpetrators who rape are seen as victims of malicious allegations, carelessness or stupidity. There is no other crime in which so much effort is expended to make the victim appear responsible – imagine the character or financial background of a robbery victim being questioned in court.

source (http://www.rapecrisis.org.uk/commonmyths2.php
http://azrapeprevention.org/sites/azrapeprevention.org/files/07-SACASA.pdf)

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15. What is ‘cycle of abuse’? How do I detect this early?

Abusers use fear, guilt, shame and intimidation to gain control over the abusee. Recognizing signs of abuse is the first step to getting help.

Emotional abuse is as damaging as physical abuse, as the scars run very deep – damaging your sense of self worth and leave you feeling trapped and helpless.

Please refer to the figure below and if this is happening to you , you are going through a cycle of abuse.  This is very hard to detect in the initial stages if you are not careful enough, because it is a cycle and the abuser can use sugar-coated words and appeasing gestures to make you stay in the relationship.  This is purely a power play tactic by the abuser.

CycleofAbuse

Source : http://www.teensagainstabuse.org/index.php?q=cycle

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_types_signs_causes_effects.htm

 

 

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16. What is ‘battered woman syndrome’?

When a woman goes through a cycle of abuse, she succumbs to learned depression and passivity which makes it difficult for her to get out of the abusive relationship. She also becomes hostile to people who are trying to help her.  The key symptoms of battered woman syndrome are as below :

1.The woman believes that the violence was or is her fault.
2.The woman has an inability to place responsibility for the violence elsewhere.
3.The woman fears for her life and/or her children’s lives.
4.The woman has an irrational belief that the abuser is omnipresent and omniscient.

The woman stays in the relationship due to the following reasons :

1.Being positively reinforced by the “honeymoon” phase of the battering cycle
2.Economic dependence upon the batterer
3.Belief that they can keep the peace
4.Fear of danger if she were to leave
5.Threats made by the batterer to hurt her or her children if she left
6.Loss of self-esteem
7.Depression or loss of psychological energy necessary to leave

Source : Walker, Lenore E. Battered woman. William Morrow Paperbacks, 1980.

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18. What are the ten legal rights I should know as a woman in India?

1.  I am entitled to free legal aid

2.  I have the right to privacy while a statement is being recorded.

3 . Time is not a boundary for reporting  sexual assault/harassment

4. I can file an FIR through email

5. The police can’t say no to filing an FIR

6.  I can’t be arrested before sunrise or after sunset unless there is a special written permission issued by the Magistrate

7. The doctor can’t decide whether I was sexually assaulted or not by giving a verbal statement. A full report is required.

8. If my identity is revealed without my permission, it is a punishable offense

9. I can’t be called to the police station and I can give my statement at my residence

10. I am entitled to protection by my employer

Sources :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sections_of_Indian_Penal_Code

http://www.youth24x7.com/society/itemlist/tag/legal%20rights%20for%20women%20in%20India#_

 

 

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